Will PETG melt in a car?

Oh, hey there fellow tech-enthusiasts! This is Carolina, your resident gadget guru, with another delightful dive into the intricate world of 3D printing. If you’ve ever plopped yourself down in a sun-soaked car seat, you’ve probably pondered on this very question. So, let’s unravel this mystery: how do different filaments like PLA, ABS, and PETG fare inside our hot metal boxes? Let’s explore, shall we?


3D Printing & The Car Conundrum
Cars and summer heat: a combination hotter than the latest smartphone on the market! But how does this affect our beloved 3D prints? Buckle up, let’s drive into the specifics.

PLA in the Hot Seat
PLA’s melting point dances between 160-180°C. Now, PLA isn’t the toughest cookie in the jar – its heat resistance is on the lower end compared to other 3D printing materials. The glass transition temperature, where it goes from solid to a soft yet unmelted state, is around 60-65°C. So, most places around our gorgeous globe won’t roast PLA to the point of melting unless we’re talking direct sunlight or you’re in a scorching location. However, caution! A car’s cozy interior can shoot up much higher than the balmy outdoors. And if any part of your beautiful PLA creation kisses the sun, it could start reshaping like a Salvador Dali painting.

One tech trainee once said they fashioned sun visor pins from PLA. Guess what? They became molten memories in just a day, even though they weren’t sunbathing directly. Ouch!

The ABS Advantage
ABS laughs in the face of heat with a printing temperature of about 220-230°C. Its superhero trait? A glass transition temperature of a sizzling 105°C. Translation: ABS can handle the heat, and your 3D printed masterpiece won’t turn into a puddle in your car. However, ABS’s kryptonite might be long exposure to UV rays. But fear not! Most creations will still stand strong in a car setting. One ambitious techie shared that their ABS gadget remained intact for a year! Just remember, while ABS is robust, you’ll want to get your printing technique down to an art, ensuring you have the right tools and settings.

If you want something like ABS but with some extra UV-shielding, consider ASA. Its UV-resistance can come in handy if your prints are going to be sun-soaked.

The PETG Perspective
Considering PETG for your car? PETG holds its own with a melting point of about 260°C. Its glass transition temperature ranges from 80-95°C, meaning it’s pretty heat-resilient. Plus, it fights off UV radiation better than its peers, PLA and ABS. But, if you’re situated somewhere sizzling like Louisiana, PETG might soften or warp after prolonged exposure. For all the 3D printing newbies, PETG is a solid pick – it’s car-friendly and a breeze to print.

Top Pick for Your Car
For the crème de la crème of heat-resistant and UV-defying filaments, may I introduce: Polycarbonate (PC). With a glass transition temperature of 115°C, it’s like the luxury sedan of filaments. Looking for a suggestion? Try the Polymaker Polylite PC 1.75mm 1KG Filament. Quality, strength, and consistency? Check, check, and check!

Giving Filaments Some Heat Armor
Ever thought about making your 3D prints more heat-resilient? Let’s discuss annealing. It’s like giving your prints a heat spa session that restructures molecules for more muscle against warping. To give your PLA print a makeover, heat it just above its glass transition temperature, and then let it cool naturally.

However, when annealing, remember your print might shrink a tad. While PLA revels in this process, ABS and PETG’s reactions are more complex, though some improvements have been noticed.